The Haier Laundry Center is a Thing of Beauty
It feels a bit weird to be talking about a household appliance like a piece of art, but that’s exactly the type of feeling that the new Haier Laundry Center evokes. Haier, which is the world’s leading major appliance manufacturer with 15.4 percent retail volume market share in 2018, showed off their forthcoming 3-in-1 washer-dryer machine during the 2019 IFA Global Press Conference in Punta Umbria, Spain last week. And not only was the machine a thing of beauty, but it also felt like the first really true smart appliance that we’ve come into contact with, which we’ll get into in a bit.
Functionally, the Laundry Center takes the stacked washer-dryer concept and packs it into a single, unibody design that allows the appliance to truly stand out in a crowd. The Direct Motion motors integrated into the appliance are beltless, which Haier said allows for reduced vibrations and noise level. Additionally the Laundry Center achieves an A+++ -50 percent Energy Class rating thanks to the direct connection of the motor to the drum, which eliminates friction, thus improving the washing efficiency and reliability.
As a 3-in-1, the Laundry Center allows for 13kg (28.6 lb) wash loads in the bottom drum, which also doubles 7kg (15.4 lb) heat pump dryer. The top drum is a functional 10kg (22 lb) heat pump dryer. Additionally, Haier includes an i-Refresh mode in the bottom drum, which uses a micro-vapor technology to remove odors and reduce wrinkles.
But on to the smart functions baked into this thing.
The Laundry Center is an incredibly intelligent appliance in a number of different ways. For starters, Haier integrates a full-touch display that has an incredibly seamless user interface. On the panel, you can control the type of wash cycle, monitor detergent levels, set wash times, and control the actions of both drums in other various ways. The screen will automatically lighten up as the user walks up to it, so it’s ready to go when you are. A Smart Opening function will automatically open the door of appliance after the washing cycle is complete in order to keep the clothes fresh. Or, you can simply knock twice—as if on a front door—and the doors open.
But you don’t have to tell this machine how to wash and dry your clothes if you really don’t want to. Through a series of sensors and other technology, the Haier Laundry Center can identify the types of fabric that have been tossed into the washing drum and adapt the right amount of detergent for that particular load, and it will then start what it determines to be the most suitable washing and drying cycles with one push of a button.
As the cycle runs, an infrared ray system will help to control the temperature internally—via 256 testing points inside the drum—to avoid over-drying the contents.
From the perspective of a consumer, the one major concern that the Laundry Center raises—as with any technology—is what happens when something goes wrong either with the touch panel or one of the drums. As a truly all-in-one washing center, it doesn’t look like it’d be an easy job to replace just one drum if something were to malfunction; so what does that entail from a customer service perspective? Same goes if something were to happen to the touch screen or any of those dozens of internal sensors.
As long as Haier is able to address and efficiently handle any of those potential problems, the Laundry Center will certainly stand out as one of the most intelligent, and gorgeous combo washer-dryer machines on the planet. We look forward to seeing it again and learning more details on a potential launch date and price point at IFA 2019 this September.